It’s been 3.5 months since I’ve posted anything on my blog. I believe that’s the longest I’ve gone without publicly writing in a couple of years. I say “publicly”, because I’ve been writing a lot, just in private. I’ve filled my journal with countless pages, and truly haven’t felt the nudge to share any of it until recently. I usually don’t shy away from vulnerability on the internet, even when in the middle of something. Most things in life can’t be neatly packaged together in a perfectly written blog post. But for some reason, I’ve been holding back. As I read through my journal, it’s filled with swirling thoughts, questions, and frustrations, so much so that it hasn’t felt healthy to let people see any of it. I’m still in the middle of a lot of things, but I recently started to feel peace in knowing that there’s a lot I don’t know. Let me explain…
In January, as part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I started reading the four Gospels chronologically. I had of course read major chunks of all of them, but never completely and never as a continuous story. I think I had some strange expectation that knowing more of who Jesus was/is would somehow help me understand more of my faith. But knowing and understanding are not the same thing. And knowledge does not always result in growth. Since the beginning of the year I can confidently say that what has surfaced are more questions than answers, and more confusion than comfort.
In May I finished reading the book “Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell. This book had literally been under my nose for almost a decade, waiting for me to crack it open. Shay read it in college, kept it, and it’s been sitting on our bookshelf ever since. One day it caught my eye, and I started reading it at the perfect time. I think I was at my peak (or lowest valley?) of really wrestling with God. I had been questioning Him, and of course feeling like I shouldn’t be.
Rob says that “questions are not scary. What’s scary is when people don’t have any… A question by its very nature acknowledges that the person asking the question does not have all of the answers.”
For me, this was a gentle reminder that only God has all of the answers. God is all-knowing, I am not.
He goes on further to explain that asking questions is necessary, but it does not necessarily lead to answers. He says that the infinite nature of God gives us answers that only lead to more questions. That “truth always leads to more truth. Because truth is insight into God and God is infinite and God has no boundaries or edges. So truth always has layers and depth and texture.”
He then gives an analogy that literally still brings me to tears …
“It’s like a pool that you dive into, and you start swimming toward the bottom, and soon you discover that no matter how hard and fast you swim downward, the pool keeps getting … deeper. The bottom will always be out of reach.”
In the last couple of months I’ve realized that it was foolish of me to ever stand in my faith and think that one day I’d fully understand God... that I just need to keep studying, learning, reading, asking questions and finding the answers… but I can honestly tell you that for me it just keeps leading to more questions, harder questions, ones that I will never have the answer to on this side of Heaven.
God is bigger than religion, bigger than the Bible, and bigger than anything we can ever truly define or understand.
Of course that does not keep me from swimming downward or keep me from asking questions.
In fact, I’m nearly done reading Richard Rohr’s book on “The Universal Christ”, and I can already feel another blog post pouring out of me. Check back soon. Hopefully I won’t go another 3.5 months without sharing what I’m learning, or un-learning, or questioning, and how God is changing the way I see everything.